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Western Mass veteran developing weather emergency kits

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

An Air Force veteran from Chicopee is using his military training to develop the ultimate weather emergency preparedness kits.

Robert Prince was a paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division, serving in Desert Storm and Panama. Several years ago, at the height of the Y2K scare, Prince began looking into emergency and survival materials for civilian life.

"Military was always on my mind, that mindset about being prepared," said Prince. "That began the process of researching gear and equipment, how long food can be stored, and what type of food to store."

That research evolved into Storm Ready, a company providing individual preparedness kits for weather emergencies. Containing blankets, cold gear, food rations, tools, and signals, these Storm Ready packs contain military-grade equipment that is completely customizable to an individual's physical abilities and potential needs.

Most residents of Western Massachusetts will never find themselves isolated for days within a military zone. However, a winter storm in New England can easily make conditions life-threatening on a routine drive down a rural road.

"A patch of ice at a corner, you go off and into a ditch, you may be incapacitated or the doors may be jammed," said Prince. "You may take a day or two to get rescued. That's where my custom car packs come into play."

Prince realizes some may see this amount of equipment unnecessary. At this time of year, he recommends at least having the two most valuable pieces in your car - warm gear and a signaling device.

The Knights of Columbus in Chicopee will host a preparedness seminar featuring Storm Ready on Saturday, March 1. More information can be found at www.storm-ready.org.

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